St. José Sánchez del Río
St. José Sánchez is one of youngest martyrs and canonized saints in our Church.
As a young teenager, José joined the Mexican Cristero military in order to fight for religious freedom in the early 1920's.
At that time in Mexico, the government led by President Plutarco Elias Calles, began closing down Catholic Churches, schools and convents and imprisoned and executed many priests and bishops.
While José was serving in the Cristero war, a deadly battle broke out and the general of the Cristeros lost his horse. José insisted on giving his general his horse and then he tried to flee on foot. This selfless act led to José being abducted and imprisoned by the government officials.
While imprisoned the government leaders told José that he could be released if he simply renounced his Catholic faith. José refused to do so and would continue to respond to them by saying "Viva Cristo Rey" which means "Long Live Christ the King".
Those three words became José's battle cry as he eventually was marched through town to the place of his execution, barefoot with the soles of his feet cut off. Every few feet the solders demanded that he renounce his faith and each time José would cry out louder and louder
"Viva Cristo Rey!"
The government officials thought they would make an example out of José Sanchez but instead his courageous witness became a powerful message and example which helped thousands of other faithful Catholics remain strong amidst great persecution.
José became a martyr at the age of 14.
José Sánchez del Río was canonized on October 16, 2016.
We have chosen St. José Sánchez del Río as our patron Saint this year because of his heroic witness and his great love for Christ and His Church.
In the St. John's Youth Ministry program, our goal is to inspire the hearts of young people to become the saints of this generation and to boldly and courageously live their faith.
May we all strive to be like St. José Sánchez who boldly proclaimed with his words
and his life that Jesus Christ is the one and only King - Viva Cristo Rey!
And may we seek his great intercession throughout this year.
St. José Sánchez del Río....pray for us!